Sunday, January 26, 2014

apple of her eye

A few days ago I was all geared up to write this fantastically optimistic post entitled something totally lame like "How Jessie Got Her Groove Back." I've never seen that movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back and the context of the title is probably inappropriate in some way and not at all related to what I was planning on writing about. Stella was probably trying to "find" herself in some Eat Pray Lovey type of way after some breakup or trauma or something, and ends up stumbling in to some off-the-cuff relationship that gives new life to her life. I'd imagine.

I, conversely, was going to tell you guys about how, yay! There's light somewhere down there at the end of that tunnel, and not the kind that they tell you not to go towards because it means you're dying. After an embarrassing number of months, I felt that I had finally groped and tripped and wobbled my way in to a routine of sorts with these two shifty-eyed fireballs. Not in small part because it seemed that Weston had somehow reconciled himself to the night and was only troubling me for one feeding, if you please mum, then returning right back to peaceful repose. 3:30 a.m. had never felt so exhilarating.

After committing the Queen Mother of All Mistakes and telling one or two people that it's happened! it's happened! The prodigal sleep has returned!...alakazam. My blue-eyed angel by day re-tapped into his red-headed hellion by night alter ego and here we are. Hi Square One. We've met.

This morning,* after a humdinger of a night, I shuffled to our Nespresso latte maker (thank you Lord Jesus for finally allying my tastebuds with coffee and its powers and thank you Sean's parents for gifting us this amazing machine of wonderment) and, in what I can only assume was done under the duress and disorientation of 4 feedings in 7 hours, I threw the coffee pod to the bottom of my mug and stared at it. As if it was going to bippity boppity boil me some brew. I came to, and put the pod in its rightful home and nestled the mug under the sacred drip thingy, then went to the utensil drawer and grabbed a fork...with which to spoon sugar into my coffee. Thus does the morning of a winner begin.

*this post took a little longer to write than expected. by "this morning," I mean "Friday morning."

And SO, instead of post Bright + Shiny, I give you the above preface - for which I hope you had some wine to accompany all that whine - AND a delicious Apple Yogurt pancake recipe kicker. Oh Joy pinned this yum a few days ago and Jordan and I have enjoyed it like four times in the last week. Funny little observation: this is what apple pancakes look in all their pinned glory

fresh figs and pure maple and you know you'd see this in some hipster café
THIS is Apple Pancake via Jess
as they say on The Pinterest: nailed it
Anyway, their lack of pleasing aesthetic does not make them any less desirable to eat, shockingly enough, and they actually make for a relatively healthy breakfast. When they say Apple Pancake they mean Apple Pancake - there are four apples and it makes like six pancakes. Very appley. Perhaps I should write apple a few more times. Apples.
I changed a couple of things from the original maaaiiinnnly because I'm lazy and who has time to boil apples? Not this guy. Unboiled apples still perform to my standards, but those are lowish so you can decide for yourself. Also, in the original recipe it orders you to "whisk flour, baking powder, salt and honey together," but after quadruple checking, it seems they forgot to tell us how much salt in the ingredients. I put in about 1/4 teaspoon, and it works out fine for me. Alright then:
4 apples, peeled and grated (I use 3 Granny Smith and 1 Fuji for mostly tart with a leetle sweet)
1 cup flour (I use all-purpose but I bet you've got something healthier lying around?)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt (as randomly decided upon by moi)
3 tablespoons Greek Yogurt (but I've been using plain whole milk yogurt from Trader Joe's)
1 egg
oil for frying (use coconut! the flavor has been fantastic)
butter & pure maple syrup
1// First combine the flour, baking powder, salt and honey. The first time I made this, I grated the apples first and they turned a little brownish by the time I finished the other instructions. Didn't affect the taste, I don't think, but it just doesn't look that pretty.
2// Add yogurt and egg and stir it allll up. Grate your apples and throw them on in. It will take a while to incorporate the apples fully because there are a LOT. And that's a good thing. Just make sure all your apple shreds are coated in the batter.
3// Heat up some coconut oil on your pan. Since I make this for Jordan and I (we've talked about how Sean don't eat no fruit, right?) I just fry them one at a time. But I'm sure you'll be more efficient. Throw a heaping spoonful of batter down, then flatten it all out. You know, like a pancake. This insures that the middle gets nice and cooked and the edges get nice and crispy.
4// On medium heat, these take about 3 minutes a side, I'd say. You be the judge. Once done, lay a nice thick slab of butter atop and dowse with some delish syrup. There are about 6-8 pancakes total, and we throw our leftovers in the fridge for next morning's breakfast. They keep nicely.
see, it's good.
Enjoy your Sunday. May your Masses be tantrum-free.

Monday, January 20, 2014

restaurants & babies & gambles & probabilities

Sean and I really like going on dates.

Sean and I have a two and half year old and a four month old.

Those statements seem fairly unrelated, and indeed, they certainly work against each other. It's usually pretty difficult for us to get a sitter because my eligible siblings are either working multiple jobs or have fled the state (AUDREY). An unsolvable conundrum, you say. Well. Sean and I are risk-takers. We're participators in parent roulette. We live on the edge and kill for the thrill. Ok, false again, but we realllly like our pale ales and buffalo wings and plush booths and dimly lit locales. Therefore, we take the kids.

We kind of stumbled into a weekly tradition over the last couple of months. There is an indoor/outdoor mall down the street from us that has a favorite restaurant of ours. The food is tip top, the price is right, and they microbrew an excellent blond. After a drink and an appetizer to split, we hit up the indoor mall park. This part serves the double purpose of fulfilling the bribe for Jordan's good(tolerable) behavior during our date, and also satisfies the quotient of crazy for the week.

So this whole routine either works out swimmingly or fails epically. This can be chalked up, I believe, to the mystifying nature of the still-developing brain. In Jordan's case, for example: one date is smiles and kids' menu artwork and sugar packet assembly line across the table while Sean and I sip leisurely and snack heartily.

The following week is straight out of one of those ubiquitous Pinterest posts "Reasons my kids are crying." She's crying because we gave her a straw. She's crying because there isn't a yellow crayon. She's crying because Sean tried to play tic-tac-toe with her. She's crying because I blew on her food to cool it off. She's crying because cheek tear tracks are the new black. I don't know.

And the other fool

One week Weston's happy to play with the distinctly feminine mobile that hangs from his carseat handle. (It was originally Jordan's, and dangles carved pink hearts and little wooden dolls with flower-print dresses. Whatever, he's entertained.) Or I'll give him some gift card out of my wallet to hold and he'll like zone in and concentrate in such a manner that pulls his eyebrows together and narrows his lips into a tiny "o." But then! The next week I'm marathon nursing under my sweatshirt to prevent the agonized cries that can only be cause by parents trying to enjoy themselves. (Does any other nursing mother construct their day's outfit based on how easily their child can be concealed under their shirt? Oh good.) Or he'll require unbroken eye contact and saccharine, obnoxious smiles as I speak out of the side of my mouth to my husband.
Some dates, it's just Jordan acting out. Others, Weston is the date diva. Sometimes we hit gold and both are fantastic. Then there's that time where the house wins all: flailing toddler, whimpering infant, shamed parents with heads hung low, all slinking as inconspicuously as possible from the place. (Impossible to do with Jordan's signature back-arch, by the way. But we've perfected an exit strategy inasmuch as possible.)
I know, I know. We should "date" at home. Lots of people do it. Probably most people who have young kids. Sean and I are of the opinion, however, that kids shouldn't hinder the spousal relationship, they should enhance it. Ideally yes, we would be sneaking away for uninterrupted conversations in which we could give our full concentration to each other while the kids terrorized the paid help. On occasion, we do! But hey, you can't let life stop you from watering your marriage. If bringing the kids means fragmented sentences and carrot sticks dropped under the table and little hands grabbing bearded cheeks so that Dad can look ONLY AT JORDAN - but we still get a little piece of each other? so be it.
There's an inevitable eye-lock between Sean and I at some point during every one of these "dates" that translates clearly to "why do we do this?" We do it because it is, ultimately, a good time. It's something that takes us away from routine and it's something to look forward to in a humdrum week. It's little, but it's important. To me anyway. I did tell Sean that we are making a 2014 pact to get out for solo dates at least every other week, come hell or dual diaper bombs. Something of a new year's resolution, if you will. 
That doesn't necessarily mean that we'll stop our little tradition - we probably won't. We don't learn our lesson very easily.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ferberize shmerberize

Really and truly, I meant to state my noble intentions and resolutions for 2014. Since one of them was stop procrastinating, I'll let you judge how things are progressing. Another was to eat healthier and whole, which is my explanation for the speed-eating of Christmas treats as efficiently as possible the last couple of weeks. The sooner I eat all the junk, the sooner I can begin a cleanse. My logic is sound.

I did make rather a cliché list of 2014 to-do's, but it really kind of annoys me to think about them because they're almost exactly last year's, which remain mostly unaccomplished. I'll go ahead and blame it on pregnancy and newborn and what have you, but honestly I just need to be a big girl and get shiz done. I'm not going to bore you with my resolutions of body improvement, home improvement, and potty training. They're old news and they're not going anywhere. I am, however, smack dab in a new addition to the list: sleep training. It's not going well, friends. It's not going well.

Jordan was something of a professional sleeper at 4 1/2 months, which is Weston's current age. It took less than a week of crying it out before she was rocking 10 hours a night, and thus my back was sporting a bright shade of pink from all the prideful self-pats. I set out to do the same for Weston a couple of weeks ago because, well, boy just don't sleep.

nor does his tongue know where it's proper home is
Here's the deal: we live in a small 2-bedroom apartment whose master bedroom shares walls with two neighboring master bedrooms. I've had no problem letting Wes cry out during his naptimes - which he does in ten minutes or so - because, hey, who else is home at 1 in the afternoon? At night though, the ungodly hours that Wes deigns meal hours (read: all the hours, beginning with elevensies in p.m.-sies, fat hobbit that he is) amplify the ferberizing such that 10-15 minutes feels more like 10-15 heart attacks. I know I would be quite displeased to be awoken 5 times a night by Not-Skinnie the Pooh entreating his mother to satiate his rumbly tumbly, and I'm not here to piss anyone off. On the other hand, Weston is becoming increasingly demanding and I increasingly tired and the whole nightly ordeal is just not working out.
I know the problem; I know the difference between Jordan and Weston. Jordan loved, idolized, craved a pacifier nearly from minute one. With Weston, you might as well have offered him his diaper to snack on, the way he reacts to the binky. He spits and chokes and looks mortally offended. I know the reason here too. He recognizes the binky for what it really is: a boob imposter. This boy won't even take a bottle brimming with mother's milk; he buys only the real deal. My sister calls him Oedipus Wes, such is his glaringly obvious adoration for me and my feeding powers. It's flattering!, his ready, half moon smile and bright, admiring eyes that light as soon as I enter his peripheral. But it is exhausting too and this new year will WILL bring me at least four hour stretches of sleep, lest my foggy days continue to go to hell in a handbasket woven of tears and caffeine capsules.
Tips? Advice? Routines? Witchcraft? Leave me what you have and I'll desperately employ your tactics.
Meanwhile, on the Jordan front

We are actively potty training and she is actively progressing even if only to summon all her energy and circulation for the equivalent of a cocoa pebble, that she might put a sticker on her potty chart.
We enjoy full conversations now and she has taken to telling me to "be caresul!" multiple times per car ride (not sure why since we've never been in an accident?), and advising me to "doh worry" as she pats my face (usually a defense mechanism should she sense she may be in trouble). If she encounters a locked bathroom door, she stands outside shouting "you POOPIN? you NAKED?" until the door be opened unto her.
She is only the best big sister I could've imagined, and is confident that Weston already possesses conversational skills as she sits next to him and inquires "you want toys Wesson? Yeah? Ok!" (sprints to her room for an armload.) She is - not altogether misguidedly - concerned that Weston will reach into his or her own dirty diaper (I usually change them together and side by side) and holds his frantically roving hands while chiding "you can't touch poopy, Wesson. No touching poopy, Wesson."

So yeah, 2014, I expect some changes from you. Expect some from me, as well. But don't change everything. There's some stuff I'd like to stay the same. For like, ever.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 in t-h-i-r-t-e-e-n

2014 then, huh? Pretty epic. I've completely fallen out of the habit of putting dates on anything, so the '13-'14 transition has yet to resonate, however I remain faithful to Dwija's link-up of a year in photos. It's kind of a trip seeing what's happened from January to January. And so:

I'm just barely pregnant with Weston James here. We know, at this point, but nobody else does.
I look at this picture, and I just know. Jordan still wears those butterfly jams; she still loves the slide like a mother; she still doesn't have much hair to speak of. But she's a baby here, and she's not anymore. Much is the same, but more is different.
Ah. That disgusting patio pre-revamp. Still one of her favorite haunts though. And this face says - even if her vocabulary can't - "I know you asked me to get off of the filthy floor. But I'm just going to look at you like this instead."
Worth noting: I am looking at those EXACT socks at this EXACT moment on my EXACT fat son. Jordan is a year and a half here; Weston is four months. And they're still cutting off his cankles' circulation.
Hawaii for our babymoon. A tiny rental car, a huge pregnant woman, and a hot pink inflatable. Paradise nonetheless.
Beach season with beached whale.
Pretty much the perfect metaphor. Sean is Jordan's constant shadow.
Here's me taking a huge risk that Jordan doesn't pee herself over firework excitement/terror. She's 100% nakey, which the funky lighting masks rather artfully. 
Jordan turned two, and I turned sad. Well not really, but you know. A mother's nostalgia. She certainly isn't 5 tiny pounds anymore, but she displays the same stubborn self sufficiency she did on Day One of Jordan.
Oh hey Bud.. You're fat and tardy. Still love ya.
New dynamic. On the left: leery. On the right: creeper.
Shamelessly employing 2013's word of the year.
At my family's huge Christmas gathering - the time of her LIFE. Bouncy houses abounding.
Oh! Bonus shot for 2013 in THIRTEEN photos:
Weston is blissfully unaware of the clenching and imminent threat on his life.
And that is a wrap, friends. Fare thee well 2013. 
Here is my 2012 in 12 photos - and go see Dweej for all the '13 in 13's. HAPPY 2014.